Sumara gets some TLC

Sumara Varnished up to the Rubbing Stake
Sumara Varnished up to the Rubbing Strake

I seem to be more pushed for time than ever, not helped by the fact that we have entered the very hilly Stroud Marathon on 10th May. Nevertheless, Sumara needs looking after and anything to save time is going to be a big help this year. I can actually varnish the hull up to the strakeĀ in just two hours. Sanding takes about the same time using a Festool Rotex connected to a Festool extractor. So I can easily get these tasks out of the way before going into work. The thing that takes the time is where the varnish has failed and that is always on the margin boards and the odd bit on the top of the coach roof. To get a build up on the damaged patches of six coats of Epifanes varnish, waiting a day and sanding between each coat was going to zap up too much time so I have opted for Epifanes Rapidclear which dries fast enough to get two coats on a day and, most usefully, doesn’t need sanding between coats. Now I have achieved the build up I will sand all the upper brightwork and slap on a coat of Epifanes gloss varnish. (Rapidclear is not a full gloss varnish). Ideally I would give it two coats of gloss but that won’t happen so I have promised myself to give the margin board an extra coat one day at anchor – that probably won’t happen either!

While I was working on Sumara yesterday Marcus de Mowbray called through the fence. Marcus is the grandson of Jack Laurent Giles. He came into the yard the take some pictures. On Sunday while I was working in Arthur Beale’s Arthur de Mowbray called in buy some bronze rudder pintles. Arthur is the other grandson of Jack Laurent Giles! Arthur makes amazing dug out boats amongst other creations.

Sailing plans for Sumara this year are very modest. I feel like some very gentle East Coast pottering, catching up with some friends who have boats at Wrabness and Walton on the Naze. Last year we really enjoyed our fleeting visit to Brightlingsea and will be happy enough just mooching around. I am hoping to base Sumara at Woolverston on a swinging mooring so I can make use of those rare weekends. Having Sumara in London right outside the house is handy in some ways but hopeless for weekend sailing as the combination of tides, weather and lock opening restrictions conspire against a simple weekend sail. Hopefully the new location will ensure I get sailing whenever a spare day is available.

4 responses to “Sumara gets some TLC”

  1. There is no doubt that a varnished hull is a beauty to behold – is the hull teak? or iroko? or???

    It is interesting to think about J Laurent Giles descendants. It would be interesting to know what his influence has been on them in terms of sailing and an interest in boats etc.

    I personally like the idea of voyaging around the east coast of England exploring the old haunts of Maurice Griffiths etc – in fact it is something I intend to do myself in a year or two (all the way from New Zealand).

    1. Hi Alden, Good to hear from you. The hull is made from one log of iroko on oak frames. As she is made from a single log all the boards match beautifully and each side is identical. She is back in the water now just waiting for the mast to be rigged. Yes, the descendants of Laurent Giles are all very interesting characters certainly all great craftspeople and very affable. There’s plenty to explore along the East Coast but not sure if it will match your Bay of Islands!
      Best regards,

  2. Hi Alasdair,
    Nice to see you are doing some maintenance on Sumara. My restoration of Vera (V162) is coming along slowly. Have the mast looking beautiful. It is oregon and has come up well after sanding and 10 coats of AWLWOOD Gloss. Hope to have the new rigging and fittings on soon and will restep the mast and concentrate on the coachouse sides, which are also varnished.

    1. Hi Greg, Not quite as much maintenance as usual but I always think sailing must take priority. We did some varnishing touch ups on holiday when didn’t take long and the boat always seems better after a good sail. I hope you are making good progress with Vera.
      Best regards,


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